President Donald Trump, at the White House on Wednesday, expressed his disappointment that churches could not gather on Sundays during the coronavirus pandemic.
“My biggest disappointment is that churches can’t meet in this time of need,” Trump said. “This is really a great time for churches to be together – for people to be together on a Sunday or any day that they meet.”
Trump was asked about churches gathering despite orders from the government not to do so to stop the spread of the virus.
A Florida pastor was arrested on Monday for holding services at his Tampa Bay megachurch and charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawful assembly and violation of the public health rules.
A New Orleans pastor was issued a misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor’s executive order barring large gatherings, according to CNN.
The president warned Americans that gathering inside churches helped spread the virus.
“If you do it close, you’re really giving this invisible enemy a really big advantage,” Trump said, adding, “You get too close and somebody’s sick, you’ll probably catch it, so you have to be careful.”
President of the Family Research Council Tony Perkins has reached out to some pastors refusing to obey government directives.
“If I thought this was an attack on religious freedom, I’d be right there with him,” Perkins told The Advocate. “It’s a directive for the sake of public health not to meet.”